Edwards v. Vannoy

Summarized by:

  • Court: U.S. Supreme Court Certiorari Granted
  • Area(s) of Law: Constitutional Law
  • Date Filed: May 4, 2020
  • Case #: 19-5807
  • Judge(s)/Court Below: No. 15-00305-BAJ-RLB, 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 156479 (M.D. La. Sep. 13, 2018)
  • Full Text Opinion

Petition granted limited to the following question: Whether the Supreme Court's decision in Ramos v. Louisiana, 590 U.S. ___ (2020), applies retroactively to cases on federal collateral review.

A jury convicted Petitioner of five counts of Armed Robbery, one count of Attempted Armed Robbery, two counts of Aggravated Kidnapping, and one count of Aggravated Rape in the Louisiana 19th Judicial District Court.  The court sentenced Petitioner to 30 years for each Armed Robbery count, and life in prison for the Kidnapping and Rape counts.  Petitioner’s conviction, by non-unanimous jury, included the sole African American juror who voted to acquit Petitioner on all counts.  Louisiana’s First Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed Petitioner’s sentence.  Subsequently, the courts denied Petitioner post-conviction relief.  Petitioner then filed a petition for Habeas Corpus in the District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana and the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals and both courts denied.  Petitioner now argues, on federal collateral review, that Louisiana’s non-unanimous jury rule, as applied to his case, is unconstitutional, specifically that his Sixth Amendment right was violated.  Petitioner argues his conviction must be vacated because the absence of unanimity perpetuates a racial system where in 48 other states Petitioner would not be serving a life sentence.  Petitioner argues that Apodeca v. Oregon, 406 U.S. 404, 92 S.Ct. 1628 (1972) and Johnson v. Louisiana, 406 U.S. 356 (1972), have been implicitly overruled because the Sixth Amendment has since been fully incorporated to the states.

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